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WISE, a mission that will find ALL the neighbours
Vultur
post Dec 11 2009, 06:16 PM
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If there actually is a close brown dwarf, that would be so interesting...
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nprev
post Dec 11 2009, 06:41 PM
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Launch now set for 1409-1423 GMT on the 14th (0609-0623 PST.)


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ElkGroveDan
post Dec 12 2009, 03:20 AM
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Yep Monday now. It looks like I might get a tour of the actual launch pad Sunday night. Stay tuned. I might also be blogging it on well-respected site. Although it is still raining like crazy down in Southern Cal where I am now.


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post Dec 12 2009, 03:31 AM
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Do tell, now! smile.gif MOST cool; looking forward to some on-site reporting!


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Greg Hullender
post Dec 13 2009, 02:52 AM
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These postponements worry me because they've already packed the solid hydrogen, so every day of delay is probably costing us a least a day (maybe more) of mission time.

--Greg
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post Dec 13 2009, 03:15 AM
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I was thinking that, too, but logically there has to be some sort of cooling in place till just before launch; certainly the possiblity (even probability) of a delay on the pad had to be considered even during early planning. That stuff wouldn't last long at all even in a Dewar vessel in terrestrial ambient conditions.


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elakdawalla
post Dec 13 2009, 04:33 AM
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If I recall correctly from my conversation with them, they re-run the chilling routine every other day. So every other day you reset the clock on the frozen hydrogen. Which means that if you're the science team you really want the spacecraft to launch on that first rather than second day. I would imagine that with the weekend's delay, Monday will be "day 1" of that cycle.

Also, I just remembered that the chilling routine involves a team of poor guys whose sole job is to run those tanks of liquid helium up the tower to the top of the rocket, where the spacecraft is, remove the old tank, hook up the new tank, run the old tank down to the bottom of the tower, and repeat.


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post Dec 13 2009, 04:38 AM
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Thanks, Emily. Figured there had to be something; didn't think that it'd be pretty! sad.gif


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elakdawalla
post Dec 13 2009, 04:49 AM
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I think those kinds of details are funny. It's amazing all the weird, different ad-hoc solutions it takes to get each unique spacecraft launched. I smirk every time I see the enormous backshell for MSL, because it has a monster hatch (big enough for Buzz Aldrin to fit through) that had to be cut into it so they can install the RTG on to the rover's butt at the very last opportunity before launch, while the spacecraft is stacked on top of the rocket on the launch pad. And they have to have three redundant air conditioning systems in the assembly tower because if things fail, that RTG will heat everything up in a hurry. Every mission has weird stuff like this. It's not like sticking your laptop on top of a firecracker and booting it up after it's safely in orbit -- each spacecraft has to have something difficult even before you launch it.


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post Dec 13 2009, 05:02 AM
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Ooooh, yeah. smile.gif Space systems engineering itself is a black art, really. Each & every SV is really a creation unique unto itself with at least one quirky little piece of impromptu ingenuity that turns out to be vital to making the whole mission succeed. Gotta love these people!


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ugordan
post Dec 13 2009, 12:15 PM
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Not to mention it's requirements like that - late/specific access to the payload and custom mods to the vehicle/pad that drive launch costs up. Not that they're not already significant... rolleyes.gif


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ElkGroveDan
post Dec 13 2009, 05:30 PM
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It's been raining like crazy for the last couple days, and still is, but it looks like tomorrow morning is going to be clear out on the coast. I think we're pretty much GO for 6:09 am Monday Pacific Time. Crossing my fingers on getting out of here in time today to make it over there.


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elakdawalla
post Dec 13 2009, 06:01 PM
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Weather in L.A. was spectacular this morning. Bright clear blue sky and sun. Rain? What rain? Go WISE!


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scalbers
post Dec 13 2009, 06:52 PM
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QUOTE (ngunn @ Aug 28 2009, 10:35 AM) *
A handy free article on solid hydrogen:

http://www.tvu.com/PEngPropsSH2Web.htm


Here's a photo of solid hydrogen floating on liquid helium...

http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/RT/RT2002/5000...laszewski2.html
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centsworth_II
post Dec 13 2009, 07:19 PM
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QUOTE (elakdawalla @ Dec 12 2009, 11:33 PM) *
...I just remembered that the chilling routine involves a team of poor guys whose sole job is to run those tanks of liquid helium up the tower to the top of the rocket...
Here's an interesting blog on the subject: No Turkeys in the Cleanroom
"...our valiant Utah cryo crew worked right through Thanksgiving. Our project managers brought Thanksgiving dinner and all the trimmings up to the crew at Vandenberg. Of course, they weren’t allowed to bring pumpkin pie into the cleanroom on top of the tower with WISE and the rocket, but they got to have a little bit of holiday cheer. Thanks, cryo crew!"


Hopefully they'll be home for Christmas!
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